Seth Lind is one of six improv actors who created and perform Mission to Zyxx, a podcast presenting a team of ambassadors, naively led by spaceman Pleck Decksetter around the Zyxx quadrant, who repeatedly and ludicrously fail in their attempts to establish diplomatic relations with the bizarre inhabitants.
The job: Lind plays Junior Missions Operation Manager Nermut Bundaloy, a striving low-level bureaucrat and lizard-bird hybrid who pathetically attempts to direct the team’s adventures. Lind also edits half the episodes.
How It’s Done: The team invites comedians to pitch a few character ideas for Zyxx denizens. Comedian Lorraine Cink played a puffball creature who stowed away on the ship in Decksetter’s pocket in a parody of the Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.”
“Before the microphones are on, we’ll talk about her character and figure out logistics. Then we’ll turn on the mics,” says Lind. They typically record for 45 minutes to an hour, discuss the episode, and add another 30 minutes to bulk up parts that felt thin.
The path: As a college senior in 2001, Lind did an internship with Minnesota Public Radio in a documentary unit called American Radio Works. “I grew up listening to my parents listen to public radio,” he says. “I was a history major but I was also interested in painting and fine arts. I ended up doing a master’s in media studies at the New School in New York and worked on some documentary films and was hired at This American Life in technical and administrative positions.” He is now director of operations.
Lind’s advice for aspiring podcasters: “Luckily, we live in an era where, if you have a laptop and a pretty affordable USB microphone, you can make at least a rudimentary recording and edit pretty easily with free software, like GarageBand or Audacity. We’re lucky to have access to a music recording studio where we have nice microphones and a brilliant sound editor and designer [Shane O’Connell]. We do a lot of vocal filters and sound effects, which really make the robot characters come alive. But that’s all gravy. You don’t need that much.”